Update [2005-7-5 21:20:10 by susanhu]: Chris Floyd, a rockstar blogger (imo), blogs Monbiot’s latest.

Update [2005-7-5 19:33:51 by susanhu]: Infoclearinghouse has a new Monbiot piece, “Africa’s new best friends.” (Those are the U.S. and Britain. Huh.)

“UK gunrunners fuelling killings, mass rape and torture in Democratic Republic of Congo”: Today’s press release from Amnesty Int’l to pressure G8 members convening this week. On June 22, BooTrib noted, Amnesty issued another shocker: “G8 sales account for 84% of all worldwide arms supplies.”


Money makes the world go ’round, doesn’t it.


No matter that Pygmies are massacred and cannibalized. Or that young girls are gang-raped.


I popped in on Under the Same Sun blog, which quotes Guardian columnist George Monbiot at his blog on debt relief:


More below:

To qualify for debt relief, developing countries must “tackle corruption, boost private sector development” and eliminate “impediments to private investment, both domestic and foreign.” […]

Robert Mugabe, the west’s demon king, has deservedly been frozen out by the rich nations.

But he has caused less suffering and is responsible for less corruption than Rwanda’s Paul Kagame or Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, both of whom are repeatedly cited by the G8 countries as practitioners of “good governance”.

Their armies, as the UN has documented, are largely responsible for the meltdown in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has so far claimed four million lives, and have walked off with billions of dollars’ worth of natural resources. Yet the United Kingdom, which is hosting the G8 summit, remains their main bilateral funder.

The difference, of course, is that Mugabe has not confined his attacks to black people …


Monbiot — who wrote the best-sellers The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new world order and Captive State: the corporate takeover of Britaincontinues:

[Mugabe] has also dispossessed white farmers and confiscated foreign assets. Kagame, on the other hand, has eagerly supplied us with the materials we need for our mobile phones and computers: materials which his troops have stolen from the DRC. “Corrupt” is often used by our governments and newspapers to mean regimes that won’t do what they’re told.


Genuine corruption, on the other hand, is tolerated and even encouraged. Twenty-five countries have so far ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption, but none of them are members of the G8. Why? Because our own corporations do very nicely out of it. In the UK companies can legally bribe the governments of Africa if they operate through our (profoundly corrupt) tax haven of Jersey.(5) Lord Falconer, the minister responsible for sorting this out, refuses to act. When you see the list of the island’s clients, many of which sit in the FTSE-100 index, you begin to understand. …


Which takes us back to today’s Amnesty press release:

According to documents and witness statements obtained by Amnesty International, six flights of arms from Albanian company MEICO, took place from Tirana to Kigali in planeloads each carrying over 40 metric tones of arms and ammunition in October/November 2002.


This included several million rounds of Kalashnikov ammunition. At least one shipment contained grenades and rocket launchers.


Amnesty International has found that three of the companies involved in these arms deliveries operated from the UK: …


Writes Monbiot, “The idea swallowed by most commentators – that the conditions our governments impose help to prevent corruption – is laughable.”


“The real problem with the G8’s conditionalities, says Monbiot, is that “[t]hey do not stop at pretending to prevent corruption, but intrude into every aspect of sovereign government.”

When the finance ministers say “good governance” and “eliminating impediments to private investment”, what they mean is commercialisation, privatisation and the liberalisation of trade and capital flows. And what this means is new opportunities for western money. …


There’s much more from Monbiot — including a detailed discussion of Uganda as an example of what Western aid does to an African country.


Curious about the United Nations Convention against Corruption?

At its site, you can scan the list of signatories As Monbiot said, none of the G8 members has ratified or approved the convention.

Meanwhile, in the Congo:

KINSHASA, July 4 (Reuters) – Hundreds of mutinous soldiers shot dead at least six people and ransacked shops and houses during a day-long pillage in western Congo over the weekend, a local official said on Monday.


[…..]


Congo’s conflict killed around 4 million people, mainly from war-related hunger and disease, in a nation roughly the size of western Europe.


Despite the 2003 peace deal, the resource-rich country has seen little economic progress and the government has failed to impose its authority over vast areas of the east, where armed gangs still pillage and kill with impunity.


Human Rights Watch says FAPC members tortured 24 civilians and killed six of them in the volatile northeastern district of Ituri last October, putting them in a makeshift underground prison at a military base and beating them with sticks.


Some of the most feared Ituri warlords, including the FAPC’s Jerome Kakwavu, were made generals in the national army in January, a move meant to help the dismantling of rebel groups. (Reuters/Alternet)

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